Sore throat remedies

I’m sure you’ve felt it before. The slight scratch, or tickle, of an early stage sore-throat – all too often a warning sign of worse to come. I wish there was something I could do to head this off at the pass, you think. Fortunately there is. A set of Chinese formulas work really nicely to nip the onset of a common cold in the bud. Unfortunately, I cannot simply recommend them, because you see these two formulas have opposite actions, and prescribed/taken incorrectly, will catalyze your cold, making it much worse, much faster. Ahhhh, the joys of Chinese medicine practiced well.

That said, there are some home remedies you can follow, which, regardless of the sub-type of cold you’re coming down with, should help alleviate your symptoms, possibly reducing the duration of your cold. Yea, that’s a lot of weasel words, because every human body is tuned differently to different stressors.

Mom’s classic: Lemon and honey

A spoonful of honey soothes any throat, and the acidity of lemon contains lots of vitamin C to help your immune system in its current fight. For best results, squeeze in a full quarter to half lemon into a cup of freshly boiled water, and sweeten to taste with honey.

Note: many commercially available honeys are basically just sugar syrup. For maximum benefit, look for a locally sourced honey. Not only does this ensure that the bees who made this honey were eating flower nectar (and not a high-fructose corn syrup mix), but the residual pollen they carry back to the hive acts as a kind of natural inoculation against local plant pollens. If your sore throat is caused by post-nasal drip from seasonal allergies, rather than an incipient cold, a little bit of local honey every day can go a long way to reducing your allergy symptoms over time.

The Asian gold-standard: Pei pa koa/Pi pa gao 枇杷膏

Box and bottle of Nim Jom Pei Pa Koa.
You can find this cough syrup in pretty much every Asian market, anywhere, for significantly less money than ordering it online. During cold season, they’ll likely even stock an entire end-cap full, because it’s just that popular.

This cough syrup is made with a blend of Chinese herbs that benefit the throat and lungs. A teaspoonful helps sooth a sore throat, or, blended into a cup of hot water to make a pleasant-sipping tea.